Article by Jennifer Gilligan.
With thousands of years of history tied to the area, Egypt's capital is a spectacular place to visit, especially for those seeking a historic adventure. [Editor's note: If you decide to make the trip to Egypt anytime soon, please proceed with caution. Otherwise, a little armchair travel is in order.] Here are six of our favorite must-see spots in Cairo.
Pyramids of Giza
While the Pyramids of Giza aren't technically within the city, they aren't too far of a drive and are definitely a must-see if you're in the area. The pyramids are the only one of the original seven Ancient Wonders of the World still standing today, dating back to more than 2,000 B.C. Visitors can get an up close and personal look at these incredible structures and can even buy tickets to tour the inside of the pyramids. You can begin purchasing tour tickets on-site at 8:30 daily, but tickets for each tour are limited, so make sure to get to the ticket kiosk early to beat the crowds.
Cairo Opera House
Enjoy the performing arts in Cairo at the Cairo Opera House—with seven theatres, you can catch a show almost any day of the week. If opera isn't your thing, you can always catch a ballet or musical performance, explore the art gallery, opera museum, or music library, or grab a bite to eat at the onsite restaurant.
Make your way to the top of Cairo Tower to enjoy a spectacular view of the city. Standing 187 meters high, the tower features an observation deck and a rotating restaurant at the top. Entrance fees cost 20 L.E. (about $3) for Egyptian residents and 70 L.E. (about $10) for non-Egyptian visitors. During the winter, Cairo Tower is open from 8 a.m. to 12 a.m. and from 9 a.m. to 1 a.m. during the summer.
The Egyptian Museum in Cairo is the largest museum in Egypt and home to 160,000 items in 107 halls. Here, you can explore ancient pharaonic artifacts stretching back 5,000 years, and see mummies up close. General admission costs 4 L.E. (about $1) for Egyptian residents and 60 L.E. (about $9) for foreign visitors, but you'll have to pay a little extra to enter the Royal Mummies Room and the Centennial Gallery.
Colossus of Ramesses II
Measuring 10 meters long, the Colossus of Ramesses IIis a spectacular sight. With a museum built around the lying statue to protect it, the site is especially well-preserved. You can inspect the statue up close from ground-level, or capture photos from a second-story balcony. Even though the statue is unfinished, visitors are still amazed by the craftmanship and attention to detail of this magnificent sculpture. While you're here, explore other artifacts in the museum or check out other structures outside the museum like the Alabaster Sphinx. The Colossus of Ramesses II statue is located in the Memphis Museum, located just south of Cairo in the village of Mit Rahina on the Nile's west bank.
City of the Dead
The City of the Dead spans four miles and includes a wealth of tombs and mausoleums. One of the most unique aspects of the massive cemetery is the fact that some people still live there, some to be near their ancestors and others because they have no other choice. Visitors enjoy this site because of the marvelous monuments and structures, while others love discovering the cultural diversity of the area. If you want to explore Egypt's history, this is a great place to do it, where you can enjoy monuments, structures, and buildings, such as the Funerary Complex of Sultan Qaitbay.